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Subject: Re: The never ending strangulation of opera by modernism
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 28 Oct 2017 16:39:04 -0400
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If you invested in HAMILTON and are reaping the rewards, congratulations,
but your insistence on its being considered an opera is a fruitless
aberration.

dtmk


On Sat, Oct 28, 2017 at 2:02 PM, James Camner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I read in the New York Times that "If you see One Opera This Year, Make it
> 'The Exterminating Angel". This from Anthony Tommasini.  He goes on to rave
> about it and in the course of the review describes the score as
> "Modernist".
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modernism
>
> I wonder if Tommasini realizes just how retrograde that description is?
> Wikipedia explains that modernism is a movement dating from the late 19th
> and early 20th Centuries. Would anyone question the statement that the
> towering opera masterpieces of modernism were written in the early years of
> the 20th Century?
>
> https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/content/modernism-and-opera
>
> Imagine if a Broadway musical were to come along that was like the musicals
> written in the same period aping the styles of Herbert, Friml, Romberg,
> Cohan, and early Kern? How would that go over?  What if artists had kept
> painting in the Cubist style over the last 100 years, year in and year out?
>
> So why do the composers toiling in the classical field feel compelled to
> write over and over and over in a style that is really so old  fashioned?
> Why does opera stay caught in this "Groundhog Day" of waking up every day
> to the same type of "new" composition?
>
>  I don't understand it. Of course outside of the opera and classical world
> its apparent that music has moved on in that same period to forms that have
> given way to current popular music. Today we are not following Tommasini's
> advice, we are instead going to see Hamilton in Los Angeles. It will be our
> second encounter with the Rap musical that has conquered the world.
>
> So now we have "Exterminating Angel" I wonder, Is there a special
> "Modernist" landfill where these works end up? How high this mountain of
> refuse of would be masterpieces must be! It seems like only yesterday that
> "Written on Skin" was the work that was finally going to put classical
> opera back on top if one believed the hype. Ironically it hit New York City
> about the same time as Hamilton.
>
> Good old Modernist scores, it's comforting that some things never change.
>
>
> James Camner
>
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